QuickBooks Tips – Posting Transactions – Date Sensitivity

calendarQuickBooks automatically prefills the date field in every transaction you create (Enter Bill, Write Checks, Create Estimate, etc.) and report that you generate.  You should always verify that the date specified by QuickBooks is the correct date for the particular transaction or report.

In many cases, the date that QuickBooks provides you with is not the correct date that you need.  Additionally, you should verify that you are not posting transactions to a date in a period that has been “closed”.  Unfortunately, QuickBooks allows users to post new transactions to a prior period if they have access to change or delete transactions recorded before the closing date.

Report Dates

Every QuickBooks report automatically specifies a default date range each time the report is created. You should always verify that the default date range is correct.

You can change the date range by:

  • Selecting a different preset date range (e.g., today, this month, this fiscal quarter, this fiscal year-to-date, last fiscal year, etc.) from the “Dates” drop-down list at the top of the report.
  • Entering a time period not specified by one of the preset date ranges in the “From” and “To” fields at the top of the report, by entering the dates manually or by clicking the calendar symbol to the right of the dates and then clicking the arrows on the calendar to select the applicable month and year and then clicking on the applicable day.

NOTE:  You should click the “Refresh” button at the top of the report after changing the date range. *

Check Dates

QuickBooks allows users to pay bills or write checks on a particular day but not print the checks until a subsequent day.  In that case, QuickBooks automatically prints the payment date specified in the “Pay Bills” window or the date specified in the “Write Checks” window as the check date.

Users can print the actual check date by selecting “Preferences” from the “Edit” menu and then selecting “Checking” from the “Preferences” scroll box. Users then should check the “Change check date when check is printed” box in the “Company Preferences” tab.

Changing Source Documents

QuickBooks allows users to correct or otherwise change transactions by changing source documents (such as bills, checks, invoices, etc.).  In fact, many of the QuickBooks help screens and user guides encourage users to correct transactions simply by changing the source document.  Consequently, many QuickBooks users change source documents when a more accurate method for changing a transaction should be followed.

For example, many users change Estimate or invoice amounts in QuickBooks rather than issuing credit memos to their customers.  Likewise, many users change bills that have been entered in QuickBooks rather than entering vendor credits as negative bill amounts. In addition to changing amounts on source documents, QuickBooks users also may change accounts, dates, or other information after the transaction has been posted.  When users alter source documents, QuickBooks retains a record of the change with the audit trail feature. Practitioners should encourage their QuickBooks clients to enter new transactions (such as credit memos) or record journal entries when applicable rather than changing source documents.

Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable

QuickBooks requires that a “Customer:Job” be specified in journal entry postings to accounts receivable and accounts payable. Consequently, practitioners who wish to make correcting entries to accounts receivable or accounts payable without correcting individual customer or vendor accounts often specify the “Customer:Job” as “dummy” or “adjusting.” While that practice may be a quick and efficient way to adjust the accounts receivable or accounts payable balance, the authors caution that the adjustment method will result in incorrect individual customers and vendors accounts. The practitioner should advise his or her clients that the individual customer and vendor accounts will be incorrect.

*Users can choose a personal preference that automatically refreshes reports. To turn on that preference, select “Preferences” from the “Edit” menu. Select the “My Preferences” tab under “Reports & Graphs” and then select “Refresh automatically.”